On 17 September, 1994, the entire interim government of Rwanda which had been overseeing the mass slaughter of Tutsis since April, crossed into the then Zaire (now DR Congo). Among the flood of officials is a man called Djumatatu Nzeyimana. As New of Rwanda reports in this exclusive investigation, Nzeyimana went on to be hosted at the personal residence of Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete in Dodoma for several months.
For the past 18 years, Djumatatu Nzeyimana has lived in a rural area between France and The Netherlands. He chose this place to be able to hide away from the praying eyes the law due to his role in the extermination of Tutsis back in Rwanda. The specific position Djumatatu held in the political establishment is unclear, but was senior political strategist for the MRND party of former president Juvenal Habyarimana.
When the interim government was sworn in led by Theodore Sindikibwabo, Djumatatu rose up the ranks of the extremist establishment to become a principal advisor to the minister of territorial administration.
Who exactly is Djumatatu Nzeyimana?
Djumatatu Nzeyimana is the current vice president of PDR-IHUMURE, the political grouping of Paul Rusesabagina, the man whose story is the inspiration of the Hollywood theatrical “Hotel Rwanda”. Nzeyimana is the one who signs on all press statements of PDR-IHUMURE.
Rusesabagina formed the group as opposition platform to the government of Rwanda around 2007. Hotel Rwanda movie had been released back in 2004, prompting Rusesabagina to gain international fame for supposedly saving some Tutsis while he was a hotel manager at Hotel Mille Collines in Kigali during the genocide.
However, all the people Rusesabagina names as having saved from the killing machine have disputed his version of event. Several books have been published by survivors from the hotel dismissing the movie. The survivors accuse the former taxi driver in Brussels of using the painful plight for personal enrichment. The survivors and film critics have described the movie as “fiction”.
Back to Djumatatu Nzeyimana, he is a breed of former government bureaucrats in Rwanda, who formed the fabric of the extremist views, which laid ground for the meticulous execution of the genocide against Tutsis. Before 2007, Djumatatu Nzeyimana was living a quiet life in the rural area between France and The Netherlands.
Overnight, he rose through the ranks to become a very close confident of Paul Rusesabagina and the vice president of his political group PDR-IHUMURE. Djumatatu is married to Safia Sengondo, who has since changed her names to be simply as “REHEMA”. It is this name that her neighbours and anybody who knew her after 1994 actually knows.
In comes President Kikwete
While the genocide was being executed in Rwanda, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete was the head of security and intelligence in (CCM), the party which has single-handedly ruled Tanzania for decades. In that position, he was more powerful than a cabinet minister, because he essentially was among the few people who vetted the ministers.
According to information corroborated from various sources, the period when Djumatatu Nzeyimana with his family – along with the entire interim government fled to Zaire, Lt Col Kikwete had direct contact with some of these officials. News of Rwanda’s concern in this article is Djumatatu Nzeyimana.
A few days after arriving in the infamous Mugunga camp, some kilometers from Goma, Djumatatu with wife and children travelled to Dodoma. They lived in the personal residence of Lt Col Kikwete until he was appointed finance minister in early 1995.
Between June and July of the same year, Djumatatu and wife with their children were provided with Tanzanian passports as well as visas to travel to their current place of residence. However, while in Tanzania, Djumatatu was helped to get a job at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was being set up.
According to individuals at ICTR at the time, chances were high that he would get the job. But a ferocious campaign from prosecution investigators forced the registrar to drop Djumatatu from possible candidates for employment. His tormentors accused him of taking part in the genocide. “I am very sure it is the reason his hosts in Tanzania realized keeping Djumatatu around was a very dangerous thing to do,” said one of our sources.
Djumatatu FDLR links
As principal advisors to the minister of territorial administration of the interim government, Djumatatu was the man doing the minister’s dirty work. According to evidence given at various judicial instances, Djumatatu was in charge of securing the arms and crude weapons like machetes from Felicien Kabuga’s network, and facilitating them to reach the villages across Rwanda.
Using local administrators and militia leaders, these arms were distributed to the rampaging local population to do “the work”, a term used to refer to the hunt for Tutsis wherever they were hiding.
When Djumatatu and the other officials arrived in Zaire, they were escorted by tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers from the then defeated army. According documented data, as the RPF rebels advanced south, west and north of Rwanda, the ex-army carried all their arms to the camps. Mugunga camp is one exception that stood out.
Even after leaving for Tanzania, and eventually rural France into hiding, Djumatatu maintained his role as fundraiser and political ideologue for the interahamwe militia – who maintained a campaign of attacks into Rwanda for years to come. In Mid 2000, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) was formed from the jungles of eastern DRC. Djumatatu was on the executive committee.
Despite being in Europe, like Djumatatu, all other political leaders of the group were also there. Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni – both president and vice president were living in Germany, and using phones at their work places to coordinate FDLR in the DRC jungles, according to data produced in court at ongoing trial of the two men.
Kikwete and FDLR
On 26th June 2013, President Kikwete made the unthinkable, as has been widely reported previously. During a closed-door African Union heads of state special summit on DRC in Ethiopia, President Kikwete called for talks between the government of Rwanda and the FDLR.
The months that followed saw a near-complete breakdown of relations between Kigali and Dodoma, as Rwandan officials and ordinary population believed they had a serious large enemy on its eastern border. Rwanda foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo was so angry that she described President Kikwete in subsequent media interviews, as “spokesman” of FDLR.
However, Tanzania’s connections with the FDLR are not new. Around mid-last year, FDLR deputy commander General Stanislas Nzeyimana (aka Izabayo Bigaruka) was announced to be in Tanzania. But weeks later, news surfaced that he had disappeared – prompting questions as to why he was in Tanzania in the first place.
Observers say President Kikwete’s comments may have come as a surprise to many, but have cast doubt on whether they were accidental. One observer said the comments were a well-planned scenario which had been prepared for years.
Last week, News of Rwanda, broke the news of the visit of former Rwanda prime minister Faustin Twagiramungu to Dodoma at the personal invitation of President Kikwete. Reaction from Tanzania has been that of utter shock and dismay at the news considering that during the previous week, the same Twagiramungu had announced an alliance with the FDLR rebels.
In Twagiramungu forming alliance with the FDLR, the rowdy politician said in a statement last week that he wants to force the government in Rwanda out by use of arms. Before January 2014, no Rwandan political organization or international group has ever given public backing to the FDLR.
Twagiramungu now falls within the FDLR agenda which does not agree with existing global agreement that Tutsis were targeted in Rwanda, in a clearly planned mass slaughter set in motion by the government at the time. The FDLR agenda is to return the extremist politicking in which Rwanda lived through for years before 1994.
In December 1995, Kikwete would go on to be appointed foreign minister, a post he held until 2005. Could it be possible that President Kikwetwe has maintained links with FDLR which we do not know?